Smithfield considers DPW for school snow removal

Smithfield considers DPW for school snow removal

SMITHFIELD – The move to virtual learning may mean snow days are a thing of the past, said Councilor Michael Lawton when discussing the schools’ snow removal contract last week.

Lawton said if students are learning from home rather than taking a snow day, the immediate need to remove snow will not be as profound. He said the Department of Public Works could pick up the extra lots after clearing roads.

“It may not be as big of a rush to get the lots cleared, and the school can work with the DPW in the future,” Lawton said.

He suggested it be discussed down the road, as the council approved staying with the current vendor, P and K Landscaping.

Director of Building and Grounds Angelo Mencucci said the schools are happy with the results from the current vendor, and the prices are considerably lower than last year’s. Prices are locked for the next three years, he said.

Mencucci said the contract allows for the town to cancel snow removal services, and only calls for removing snow after a call from the School Department. The option saved the town two times during the current contract, Mencucci said, during February vacation last year.

Town Manager Randy Rossi said the town began discussing those options already. He said having the town take over facilities will be a big cost-saving move.

“Having the town take over on the school facilities, that’s the biggest thing,” Rossi said.

Public Works Director Gene Allen said the town would need to invest in equipment improvements before any significant changes are made. He said some repairs have been on hold for some time.

Between July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, it will cost Smithfield $2,900 per snowstorm to remove between 2 and 6 inches of snow, $3,950 for 6.1 inches to 12 inches of snow, and $8,500 to remove more than a foot of snow.

Through June 20, 2023, the town will pay $2,450 to remove 2 to 6 inches of snow, $3,950 for 6.1 inches to 12 inches, and $7,850 for more than a foot of snow.

Mencucci said he suspects low snowfall in the last few years as the reason for the price drop.

Another bid that came in under initial estimates during last week’s meeting was the resurfacing of the Smithfield High School tennis courts.

The town awarded the contract to J. G. Coffey Company of Bristol to repair the court for $27,862. The repairs will extend the life of the courts another five to eight years, said School Committee Chairwoman Rose Marie Cipriano.

Original estimates to resurface the four courts and fill the cracked surface were between $40,000 and $60,000, said Supt. Judy Paolucci. The scope of work will also include restriping lines.

The school redirected operational savings from the schools’ early closing this yeare to pay for the tennis court project.

Cipriano said because the repairs were done using last year’s budget, it will not impact any possible upcoming layoffs. She said the two are separate matters.